A solid foundation is of utmost importance for any sporting activity.  Your feet and ankles are your body’s foundation to keep you moving towards your athletic goals, and sports injuries to this foundation can be devastating. Whether you are new to a sport or an elite athlete, ramping up activities too quickly, repetitive motions, and excessive training can lead to overuse injuries.  Depending on your sport, you may be more at risk for certain injuries.

Here are some common sports injuries of the foot and ankle:

Stress fractures:

Stress fractures are tiny breaks in a bone that can be caused by overuse, improper training techniques, and poor support.  Certain foot deformities, such as flat feet, can predispose a person to developing stress fractures. In the foot, the metatarsals are the most commonly affected bones. If untreated, stress fractures can progress to a complete break in the bone.

Tendonitis:

Depending on foot structure and demands of specific sports, certain tendons may become overworked, leading to tendonitis, tendon tears, or even a tendon rupture.  People with flat feet and ‘overpronators’ are more likely to develop posterior tibial (PT) tendonitis.  The PT tendon runs along the inside of the foot and ankle.  People with high arched feet and ‘oversupinators’ are more likely to injure their peroneal tendons, which run along the outside of the foot and ankle.  Your foot and ankle surgeon may order imaging studies to evaluate the extent of tendon injury, and may prescribe orthotics or physical therapy.

Ankle sprains:

Please refer to section on ankle sprains.

Achilles tendonitis:

Please refer to section on Achilles tendon injuries.

Big Toe Pain:

Pain in the big toe can happen for a number of reasons.  Two of the more common reasons in athletes are ‘turf toe’ and injuries to the sesamoids.

Sesamoid Injuries:

Pain in the ball of the foot under the big toe joint can be a sign of injury to the sesamoid bones.   There are three types of injury to these bones. Sesamoiditis is inflammation of the sesamoid bones, which is related to overuse. Sesamoid fractures can occur from a sudden injury or can be chronic, as in the case of a stress fracture with repetitive use. The soft tissues and ligaments around the sesamoid bones can also be injured in a condition called turf toe.

Turf Toe:

Turf toe is typically associated with athletes that play on artificial turf, like football and soccer players. It can also affect athletes in other disciplines, such as track and field, gymnastics, basketball, wrestling, and dance.  Turf toe is the common term for spraining the ligaments of the big toe joint.  It can occur from a sudden injury where the big toe is hyperextended, or it can occur gradually as a result of overuse.

Foot and ankle fractures:

Please refer to section on foot and ankle fractures (broken bones).